How to heat your home with air conditioning in winter

  • Why con­ven­tion­al air con­di­tion­ing is not suit­able for heat­ing
  • What is a heat pump
  • Advan­tages and dis­ad­van­tages of heat­ing with heat pumps
  • How to choose a heat pump for heat­ing your home in win­ter

Heat­ing is one of the stan­dard fea­tures pro­vid­ed in most mod­ern split sys­tems. How­ev­er, this option, designed to work only in the off-sea­son, should not be con­fused with heat­ing, which implies the pos­si­bil­i­ty of using the air con­di­tion­er as a full-fledged source of ther­mal ener­gy even in win­ter. Not all mod­els can cope with such a task. Only air con­di­tion­ers with a heat pump func­tion are suit­able for heat­ing. If you still do not know how they dif­fer from ordi­nary ana­logues, then we sug­gest that you read this arti­cle, which con­tains detailed infor­ma­tion on this top­ic.

Why conventional air conditioning is not suitable for heating

If the split sys­tem is not designed for con­stant oper­a­tion in win­ter with its severe frosts, then oper­a­tion con­trary to the man­u­fac­tur­er’s instruc­tions will lead to icing of the out­door unit, which may cause the com­pres­sor to over­heat and burn out. It will be dif­fi­cult to elim­i­nate such a break­down, and the cost of repairs will be com­pa­ra­ble to the pur­chase of new cli­mate con­trol equip­ment.

To under­stand whether your air con­di­tion­er can work as a heat­ing device, it is enough to care­ful­ly study its tech­ni­cal char­ac­ter­is­tics. They indi­cate the range of ambi­ent tem­per­a­tures at which the split sys­tem is allowed to oper­ate. If the man­u­fac­tur­er not­ed that the device can oper­ate in heat­ing mode, but pro­vid­ed that it is not cold­er than ‑5 degrees out­side, and you turn it on in damper weath­er, say, when the mer­cury col­umn drops to ‑10, this will lead to a change prop­er­ties of com­pres­sor oil and fre­on cir­cu­lat­ing through the sys­tem, which will become a source of fur­ther prob­lems.

What is a heat pump

In the cat­a­log of the com­pa­ny “Smart Cli­mate” there are mod­els of split sys­tems with a wide range of oper­at­ing tem­per­a­tures. Frost-resis­tant air con­di­tion­ers are also pre­sent­ed here, capa­ble of heat­ing the room, even when the tem­per­a­ture out­side drops to ‑35 degrees. This kind of cli­mate tech­nol­o­gy is called heat pumps. They dif­fer from stan­dard mod­els in the spe­cial struc­ture of the com­pres­sor, some design changes in the exter­nal unit and the automa­tion sys­tem used.

Heat pumps are some­times referred to as reversible air con­di­tion­ers. This means that they can reori­ent the flow of fre­on in the oppo­site direc­tion, due to which they pump heat into the room, even when it is cold out­side. To under­stand how it works, it is worth refer­ring to the prin­ci­ple of oper­a­tion of all split sys­tems.

When cool­ing, the air con­di­tion­er cir­cuit is filled with liq­uid fre­on. When this medi­um enters the out­door unit, it flows into the con­denser under the action of the excess pres­sure cre­at­ed by the com­pres­sor. Here, liq­uid fre­on is blown by air cur­rents and gives off its heat. Fur­ther, this sub­stance, under the action of the same excess pres­sure cre­at­ed by the com­pres­sor, flows into the expan­sion valve, where the diam­e­ter of the main pipe expands sharply, which means that the pres­sure drops. Due to this, fre­on changes its state of aggre­ga­tion from liq­uid to gaseous, which leads to a rapid drop in its tem­per­a­ture. In this form, it enters the sec­ond heat exchang­er (evap­o­ra­tor), which is locat­ed indoors. Already cold gaseous fre­on takes heat from the sur­round­ing air and, turn­ing into a liq­uid state, again enters the exter­nal unit, where the whole cycle is repeat­ed from the very begin­ning.

Dur­ing heat­ing, the prin­ci­ple of oper­a­tion of the heat pump is reversed. It is not heat­ed liq­uid fre­on that enters the exter­nal unit, but a cooled gaseous refrig­er­ant. If its tem­per­a­ture is, say, ‑30 degrees, then it will be able to take heat even from frosty air with tem­per­a­tures up to ‑25 degrees. The result­ing ther­mal ener­gy will be direct­ed inside the room, work­ing to heat it. At the same time, the com­pres­sor will force the fre­on back through the expan­sion valve, where it will con­tract sharply, which will raise its tem­per­a­ture.

Advantages and disadvantages of heating with heat pumps

In a num­ber of Euro­pean coun­tries, split sys­tems are often used as the main heat­ing device. Some Euro­pean home­own­ers fol­low their exam­ple. The expla­na­tion for this deci­sion is a num­ber of advan­tages pro­vid­ed by heat­ing with air con­di­tion­ing.

  1. Easy to install and oper­ate. You do not need to debug a gas or sol­id fuel boil­er. It is enough to install cli­mate equip­ment once, which can lat­er be con­trolled using a remote con­trol or a spe­cial Wi-Fi mod­ule.
  2. High lev­el of effi­cien­cy. Heat pumps con­vert 1 kW of elec­tric­i­ty into 3–5 kW of heat. Gas and sol­id fuel boil­ers can­not boast of such effi­cien­cy.
  3. aes­thet­ic appeal. By installing an air con­di­tion­er as the main source of heat­ing, you will rid the room of pipes and radi­a­tors.
  4. Safe­ty. When the air con­di­tion­er is run­ning, there is no “air burn­ing” effect. The com­bus­tion process is not used at all to pro­duce ther­mal ener­gy.
  5. Func­tion­al­i­ty. The same split sys­tem can work both for heat­ing and cool­ing, which will pro­vide a com­fort­able micro­cli­mate in win­ter and sum­mer.

When decid­ing whether to heat a house or apart­ment with an air con­di­tion­er, remem­ber that you are actu­al­ly switch­ing to heat­ing from elec­tric­i­ty. This is impor­tant to con­sid­er when plan­ning the bud­get for the main­te­nance of the premis­es. There is anoth­er draw­back — air con­di­tion­ers with a heat pump func­tion have lim­i­ta­tions in terms of oper­at­ing tem­per­a­tures, but the weath­er out­side the win­dow prac­ti­cal­ly does not affect the func­tion­ing of stan­dard heaters.

How to choose a heat pump for heating your home in winter

When decid­ing which mod­el of a split sys­tem to pur­chase for instal­la­tion in a house or apart­ment, pay atten­tion to sev­er­al key para­me­ters.

  1. Oper­at­ing tem­per­a­ture range for heat­ing and cool­ing. The wider it is, the less like­ly it is that you will need to heat the room with alter­na­tive heat sources.
  2. Ser­vice area. It is desir­able that it be 20% larg­er than the dimen­sions of the room that you plan to heat with air con­di­tion­ing. How­ev­er, it is impor­tant to remem­ber that the high­er the pow­er of cli­mate tech­nol­o­gy, the greater its price.
  3. Ener­gy effi­cien­cy class. This para­me­ter also affects the cost. Pre­mi­um series mod­els usu­al­ly demon­strate max­i­mum ener­gy effi­cien­cy. How­ev­er, by over­pay­ing once, you will recoup your invest­ment due to sig­nif­i­cant sav­ings on elec­tric­i­ty.
  4. The pres­ence of an invert­er. If ordi­nary chan­nel sys­tems oper­ate accord­ing to the ON / OFF scheme, then invert­er mod­els dif­fer in that most of their mech­a­nisms always func­tion, but at low pow­ers suf­fi­cient to main­tain the set tem­per­a­ture. This pro­tects against peak loads, which has a pos­i­tive effect on the ener­gy effi­cien­cy and ser­vice life of the air con­di­tion­er.

There are a large num­ber of split sys­tems on the mar­ket that are suit­able for full-fledged heat­ing. Under­stand­ing their diver­si­ty is some­times dif­fi­cult. If you still have dif­fi­cul­ties with the choice, you can always seek advice from the employ­ees of the Smart Cli­mate com­pa­ny, who will select the best solu­tion for you from an exten­sive cat­a­log of mod­ern cli­mate con­trol equip­ment.


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